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Big drop in locals joining terror groups in J&K

New Delhi, Feb 05: The number of Kashmiri youth joining terrorist ranks has dropped significantly after the repeal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcation of the state into union territories but there was not much change in the pattern of infiltration attempts through the Line of Control (LoC), according to the official data.

28 youths joined the ranks of terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir between August 5, 2019 and January 26, 2020, says an internal document prepared by the security agencies.

This represents a 60 per cent drop compared to the number of youths joining the militancy in Kashmir between January 1, 2019 and August 4, 2019, which saw 105 youths join the terrorist ranks, mostly in south Kashmir districts of Pulwama, Anantnag, Kulgam and Shopian.

While an average 15 youths were sucked in by the scourge of militancy every month till August 5 last year, this number came down significantly to just 5.6 per month after that, as per the document.

The Centre had on August 5 last year ended the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and bifurcated the state into union territories- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

According to the document, overall 2019 saw a drop of 35 per cent in fresh recruitment in militant ranks compared to 2018. While 135 youths joined militancy in 2019, 199 had taken to arms in 2018.

Officials, however, said the figures may be less as many of the assets of intelligence agencies were cut-off due to the telecommunication clampdown post August 5.

On the infiltration front, the attempts by Pakistan to push more terrorists into the Valley continued unabated as 133 militants managed to sneak into Jammu and Kashmir.

As many as 211 terrorists attempted to infiltrate in the union territory during the past year but 74 of them had to return to Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) while four others were killed by the alert counter-infiltration grid, as per the document.